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MoonDragon's Women's Health Procedures Information

Breast Cancer Screening

For "Informational Use Only".
For more detailed information, contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Breast Cancer Screening Diagnostic Tests - Introduction
  • Mammography
  • Thermography
  • Diaphanography
  • Ultrasonography


    If the health care provider suspects you or your client has a breast tumor, she/he will probably order some non-invasive diagnostic tests. These tests will help detect breast tumors and cysts and differentiate between cancerous and non cancerous breast disease. Depending on the results of these tests, the health care provider may then perform a biopsy.

    Which tests will the health care provider order? That depends upon you or your client's condition, the health care provider's preferences, and the equipment at your clinic or hospital. This page will discuss four common types of diagnostic tests.



    Radiographic procedure that detects breast cysts or tumors. In xeromammography, an electronically charged plate records X-ray images and transfers them to special paper.

    mammography camera unit taking x-rays of breast

    Mammography camera unit taking x-rays of breast.
    mammograph showing benign tumors

    Mammograph showing benign tumors.


  • To screen for breast cancer.
  • To investigate palpable or non-palpable breast masses, breast pain, or nipple discharge.
  • To help differentiate between cancerous and non-cancerous breast tumors.


  • Ask your client when she had her last menstrual period. If she may be pregnant, notify the health care provider or midwife. She/he will schedule an alternate test that will not expose the fetus to radiation.

  • Tell your client that before the test, she will be asked to remove clothing and jewelry or other metal objects above the waist. (Metal objects will show up as abnormalities.)

  • Reassure her that the test's diagnostic value possibly outweighs any possible problems associated with radiation exposure.

  • MoonDragon's Womens Health Procedures Information: Mammography

    Breast thermography imaging showing cool and hot spots of the breast.


    Infrared photographic procedure that measures and records heat patterns on the surface of the breast. Thermal Imaging takes the sting out of breast exams. For years women have been told about getting mammograms for early detection of breast cancer and for years we have dreaded and avoided mammography screening due to the pain and radiation exposure associated with the mammography procedure. Thermography, also known as Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging, may be an option to conventional mammography screening or may be useful as a complementary diagnostic procedure along with conventional mammagraphy screening. Thermography is a 15 minute, 100% safe, non-invasive test of physiology. The machine never touches the body, never emits radiation, is FDA approved and can detect even subtle changes. It has been known to detect what could be breast cancer years before mammography can, especially inflammatory breast cancer, which has been almost non-detectable until 4th stage since it shows no symptoms that most would recognize. These scans should be read by a board certified practitioner in thermology and be done on a regular basis for comparisons just like mammograms.

    Numerous studies have been published in the US, France, and England of people with positive thermograms and negative mammograms who had long-term follow-ups. Those choosing the negative mammogram readings over the positive thermoscan readings found themselves being diagnosed with breast cancer in the exact location that the thermogram revealed initially 5 to 10 years earlier, but had never done anything about it. There is still considerable debate among health practitioners about thermography's reliability in breast cancer detection and whether or not it should be used alone in diagnostic screening, as an adjunct to mammography or has not been validated as a diagnostic modality to detect breast cancer. Further advances in technology and computing power along with more side-by-side studies may need to be done to help solve the debate.

    thermography showing cool and hot spots of the breast thermography breast cancer - invasive ductal carcinoma

    How it works: When cancer or disease starts in our bodies, it tends to increase blood flow to that area and the heat from the increased vascularity is what the thermoscan reveals. This increase in heat can also indicate inflammation as well, therefore helping in diagnosing pain patterns and other conditions. When detected so early, lifestyle changes and treatments can be instituted which may be able to minimize or even prevent disease or cancer from taking hold. Thermography is especially appropriate for younger women with denser breast tissue that makes it more difficult for mammography to be effective.

    Thermal Imaging can also be used to help determine the cause of pain, to aid in the early detection of disease and pathology, to evaluate sensory-nerve irritation or soft tissue injury, to define a previously diagnosed injury or condition, to identify an abnormal area for further diagnostic testing, and to follow progress of healing and rehabilitation.


  • To screen for breast cancer.
  • To predict the risk of breast cancer.
  • To help differentiate among cancerous and non-cancerous breast tumors, cysts, and abscesses.
  • To aid in tumor staging.


  • Tell your client that before the test, she will be asked to remove clothing and jewelry or other metal objects above the waist.
  • She may have to allow her skin temperature equilibrate to the room temperature 15 minutes before the exam is done.
  • Inform her that the testing room may be cool.
  • She will need to wait a few minutes after the test while the thermograms are checked for readability.
  • Explain that skin lesions, ointment, or a recent sunburn may cause false-positive results.

  • FDA For Consumers: Thermogram - No Substitute For Mammogram
    Posted June 2, 2011

    Despite widely publicized claims to the contrary, thermography should not be used in place of mammography for breast cancer screening or diagnosis. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says mammography— an X-ray of the breast—is still the most effective way of detecting breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages. Thermography produces an infrared image that shows the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body. The agency has sent several warning letters to health care providers and a thermography manufacturer who claim that the thermal imaging can take the place of mammography. Web sites have been touting thermography as a replacement for mammography and claim that thermography can find breast cancer years before it would be detected by mammography. The problem is that FDA has no evidence to support these claims.

    "Mammography is still the most effective screening method for detecting breast cancer in its early, most treatable stages" said Helen Barr, M.D., director of the Division of Mammography Quality and Radiation Programs in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "Women should not rely solely on thermography for the screening or diagnosis of breast cancer."  "While there is plenty of evidence that mammography is effective in breast cancer detection, there is simply no evidence that thermography can take its place," said Barr.

    X-ray of breast in which a cancerous mass shows up in white

    A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast in which a cancerous mass shows up in white.
    Infrared image shows patterms of heat and blood flow on or near skin surface

    A thermograhy produces an infrared image that shows the patterms of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body.

    Thermography devices have been cleared by the FDA for use as an adjunct, or additional, tool for detecting breast cancer. Toni Stifano, a consumer safety officer in FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, explains that this means thermography should not be used by itself to screen for or to diagnose breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, estimates that about 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime in her life. The greatest danger, says Stifano, a breast cancer survivor herself, is that patients who substitute thermography for mammography may miss the chance to detect cancer at its earliest stage. There has been a steady decline in breast cancer deaths and one of the reasons is early detection through mammography, says FDA.  As for concerns about exposure to radiation from a mammogram, evidence shows that the benefits outweigh the risks of harm, especially when compared to the danger of breast cancer.

    FDA is advising patients to continue to have regular mammograms according to screening guidelines or as recommended by their health care professional. Patients are also advised to follow their health care professional's recommendations for additional diagnostic procedures, such as other mammographic views, clinical breast exam, breast ultrasound, MRI or biopsy. Additional procedures could include thermography.

    This year alone, the agency has sent warning letters to the following practitioners and manufacturer making misleading claims about thermography:
    FDA’s position on thermography is shared by prominent organizations active in the fight against breast cancer, including the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a nonprofit that has raised billions of dollars for education and research, and the American Cancer Society. This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.


    Diaphanography is a photograph of infrared light, which is transmitted through the breast with a fiber-optic device.


  • Early screening for breast cancer.
  • To provide a guide for biopsy or cyst drainage.


  • Tell your client that before the test, she'll be asked to remove clothing and jewelry or other metal objects above the waist.
  • Advise her that the test may be repeated as often as necessary without any radiation hazard.

    Source: T.F.M. Technologies, Featured on UAE TV May 2, 2013

    computer diaphanography imaging

    In 1976, the manufacture of a prototype transillumination machine expanded the concept of “transillumination”. Once initial theories were researched and priced it became apparent that to fully develop the technology would cost in excess of $100 million USD. An international consortium was assembled. It was agreed this enormous undertaking would best be completed in China, where patient availability at government-sponsored hospitals would be a significant advantage.

    Over a fifteen-year period, more than 1,850,000 women were scanned and their results organized in published studies. Many generations of engineering refinements resulted in a system which eliminated most of the problems associated with mammography as a mass screening system. They included:
    • The elimination of painful breast compression.
    • The ability to clearly see tumor activity at 0.5cm.
    • The ability to see through breast implants.
    • The elimination of all ionized light (radiation).
    • Low cost.
    • More easily reproducible images, electronically transferable.
    • The ability to differentiate between benign and malignant tumors.
    • Artificial intelligence to aid the Radiologist in rendering an immediate opinion.

    The system is conveniently portable for remote and mobile use. These studies were so successful that various Chinese organizations established a new protocol for mass screening. Currently, an estimated 55,000 of these machines are in existence scanning, without radiation, an estimated 200 million women per year. These machines only provide basic features and exclude the major advances to be patented, namely physician-assisted gray scale analysis and use of a new camera that actually sees near infrared light in the daylight.

    computer diaphanography imaging breast exam

    From the more than 1,850,000 women formally scanned in studies a database was produced containing the entire inventory of unique scans, their associated mammogram detail and the final pathological outcome. A 437-page textbook, a training atlas, coupled with the inclusion of the physician-assisted grey scale analysis software was completed, and the text book and training atlas published in China. The first edition, 5,000 copies, sold out immediately. A second edition, including an English translation, is currently in process.

    Contact TFM Technologies for complete project details.

    Dubai International Office: +971506956081
    TEXAS: 832-444-7734
    CALIFORNIA: 832-444-4150

    Source: MedGadget: Breastlight By Gene Ostrovsky, June 9, 2009

    breastlight medical device

    In the UK, a device called a Breastlight is sold as a medical gadget that allows women to examine suspicious breast lumps found in their routine breast exams. Malignat lumps have an increased blood supply to feed them so any dense areas may indicate an abnormality. Fluid filled cysts, however, will not absorb the light.

    Breastlight, a device produced by PWB Health Ltd out of Dumbarton, UK, was developed by Highland Innovation Centre (Inverness , UK) to help women spot suspicious breast lumps in the privacy of the home. By shining light of specific frequencies that best penetrates breast tissue, it should be possible to locate darker, and therefore denser spots for further review by a health care provider. Here is more info from the Breastlight Product Page:

    Breastlight Breast Image.

    Breastlight can be used by women of all ages, particularly menopausal or post-menopausal women when the density of the breast tissue has changed. It is also useful for women with fibrous breasts that always feel lumpy. The Breastlight will distinguish between normal breast tissue and areas where blood vessels are present that could indicate a potential abnormality. Breastlight is designed to give the maximum light transmission through the breast tissue. Even so, only a small fraction of the light will pass through completely and this is what you will see when you use the product. That is why it is important to use Breastlight in a very dark room.

    Breastlight is a simple and easy to use product. The key points are:
    • Choose a room that you can make as dark as possible.
    • Apply lubricant to your skin.
    • Turn on Breastlight under one of your breasts and look down.
    • Keep your Breastlight pressed tightly against your skin.
    • Use a mirror so you can see more.
    • Check all areas, including under the arms and high on the chest.
    • Please note that Breastlight may require an overnight charge before use.

    Using the breastlight at home.

    A red light is used to give the best contrast and enable you to see the maximum detail. The light is completely harmless and has no invisible rays. You can use Breastlight as often as you like with no side effects. When the light hits a blood vessel in your breast it is absorbed by hemoglobin. This makes the veins in your breast appear as dark lines. Malignant lumps have an increased blood supply to feed them so any dense areas may indicate an abnormality. Fluid filled cysts, however, will not absorb the light. Always consult your health care provider about any concerns you have about a breast self-exam and exam results.

    PWB Health Ltd
    2 Thorne Road
    Thornton Lodge
    HD1 3JJ
    Tel: +44 (0) 1484 817807
    Fax: +44 (0) 1484 531 584

    ultrasound breast exam Ultrasound image of a breast mass.


    Computer display of high-frequency (ultrasound) echoes. High-frequency sound waves are beamed through client's skin and into her breast with a transducer. The sound waves bounce back to the transducer as an echo that varies in strength according to the density of underlying tissues. A computer processes these echoes and displays them on a screen for interpretation.

    Ultrasound breast exam with hand held transducer.


  • To detect a tumor less than 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) in diameter.
  • To distinguish tumors from cysts in dense breast tissue.


  • Tell your client that before the test, she will be asked to remove clothing and jewelry or other metal objects above the waist.
  • Explain that ultrasonography has no radiation risks.

  • Note: When performed in conjunction with mammography, ultrasonography increases diagnostic accuracy.

    SIEMENS RELEASES ACUSON S2000 ABVS (Automatic Volumetric Breast Ultrasound)
    Source: MedGadget: Siemens Automatic Volumetric Breast Ultrasound, By Gene Ostrovsky, March 2, 2009

    Siemans ABVS

    Siemens has released a new dedicated ultrasound breast imaging system. The Acuson S2000 Automated Breast Volume Scanner (ABVS) provides a complete 3-D image of the breast within a 15 minute exam.

    The system quickly and comfortably acquires and surveys full-field sonographic volume images that provide a more comprehensive overview of the breast. Included is the intuitive, anatomical coronal plane of the breast (from the nipple to the breast wall), which is not available with conventional ultrasound imaging. This view provides a more understandable representation of the global anatomy and architecture of the breast.

    Siemans ABVS

    The system's automatic image acquisition significantly improves the workflow of a breast ultrasound examination. While hand held examinations usually take up to 30 minutes, with the Acuson S2000 ABVS, the exam can be performed in less than 15 minutes. Semi-automated reporting and comprehensive BI-RADS® ultrasound reporting capabilities further enhance the clinical workflow. This Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) is a classification of the American College of Radiology (ACR) for reporting mammography screenings. To further optimize high-volume patient care, the system also supports innovative breast imaging applications, such as Fatty Tissue and eSie Touch elasticity imaging. All of these applications help increase diagnostic confidence, while at the same time reducing examination and waiting time for the patient. The new system is an all-round system for ultrasound breast care, from early detection, to diagnosis to aftercare.

    Press Release: Siemens sets a new standard for breast ultrasound (PDF)
    Product Page: ACUSON S2000 ABVS…

    United States Headquarters
    Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc.
    51 Valley Stream Parkway
    Malvern, PA 19355
    United States
    Product Information and Sales: 1-888-826-9702
    Customer Care: 1-800-888-7436 (Equipment Service & Application Support)

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